Liedson continued his tremendous scoring form for Sporting Clube de Portugal at the weekend as the Lisbon side warmed up for their UEFA Cup Group D showdown with leaders Newcastle United FC with victory. In contrast Newcastle's Premiership woes continued, while Matchday 5 adversaries FC Sochaux-Montbéliard and Panionios NFC could not manage a goal between them.
Newcastle lost for the third time in five league matches, 4-0 at league leaders Chelsea FC. With manager Graeme Souness having to contend with a string of injuries, 18-year-old right-back Steven Taylor started just his third Premiership match. Three straight Group D wins ensured Newcastle's place in the last 32 and they need only draw with Sporting to finish top of the section. They will, however, be without Nicky Butt, Olivier Bernard (both hamstring) and Stephen Carr (knee) who all missed the Chelsea defeat. Captain Alan Shearer was also absent because of a thigh strain, but should return next week, when defender Andy O'Brien (hamstring) is also expected back. Lee Bowyer sits out the Sporting match through suspension.
Sporting bounced back from their Matchday 4 defeat by Sochaux to climb to second in the SuperLiga on Sunday after winning 3-2 at A. Académica de Coimbra. The in-form Liedson struck on 20 and 22 minutes to put Sporting in control, and though Académica fought back to draw level early in the second half, Rogerio converted Hugo Viana's corner late on to seal the points. Tinga was sent off two minutes from time for Sporting as both sides finished the match with ten men. Liedson is now the SuperLiga's top scorer with eleven goals. Sporting coach José Peseiro was without injured midfielder Carlos Martins and striker Mauricio Pinilla. Fabio Rochemback was rested and Brazilian centre-back Anderson Polga dropped to the substitutes' bench as Peseiro stuck to his rotation policy. Custódio and Tinga were the only two additions to the side beaten 1-0 by Sochaux on Matchday 4.
Sochaux, who need only to avoid defeat against Panionios to advance, looked tired from their exertions in victory over Sporting last week as they drew 0-0 away to local rivals RC Strasbourg on Saturday. Guy Lacombe's side looked solid at the back even without key defenders Sylvain Monsoreau and Lionel Potillon, and Wilson Oruma and Jaouad Zairi up front. Oruma and Zairi should both return to face Panionios.
Panionios, who must beat Sochaux to advance, also drew 0-0 at the weekend - their third goalless draw in four league matches, this time against Xanthi FC. Long-term absentees Mico Smiljanic and Saša Zimonjic (both knee) were joined on the sidelines by centre-back Savas Exouzidis (ankle) and right-back Travis Dodd (flu). Defender Panagiotis Giannopoulos misses the Sochaux match through suspension.
Dinamo's European campaign came to an end with their 5-2 defeat away to Panionios on Matchday 4, leaving the Georgian side bottom without a point from four matches. They beat FC Dinamo Batumi 1-0 on Sunday, however, to return to the top of the Georgian Premier League.
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